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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Early in the season it was a weakness, but now attack errors, or lack thereof, have become a huge reason for the Gators' success.

After averaging 19.27 errors per match over the first 15 contests of the season, Florida has cut that number to 10.5 per match during its eight-match winning streak.

Just one match after hitting a season-best six errors in a 3-0 sweep of Georgia (16-10, 6-9 Southeastern Conference) on Friday (25-16, 25-20, 25-14), No. 9 UF (20-3, 14-2 SEC) maintained its mistake-free play.

That season-low was short lived as the Gators recorded only four attack errors Sunday against Auburn (14-12, 6-9 SEC) to grab their eighth-straight sweep (25-15, 25-18, 25-13).

"Earlier in the season we were capable of making 10 hitting errors in one game, and that shows the maturing process of this team," coach Mary Wise said.

Junior setter Brynja Rodgers was not available for Sunday's match against the Tigers because of back spasms, which left sophomore Kelly Murphy as the lone setter.

The injury forced the Gators to go away from their usual two-setter offense and play with one setter for the first time this season.

But it looked as if Murphy had been playing this type of scheme the whole year as she dished out 30 assists and helped limit the attack errors to only four.

"The team responded great. We've practiced Kelly running a five-one offense, but we just haven't done it for an entire match," Wise said. "Today we did it, and now when we go to it in a match we are going to be that much better because of this."

However, the Gators did face some adversity against Auburn as they found themselves trailing 2-8 in the second set. It didn't last long. Sophomore outside hitter Colleen Ward knocked down five kills in the frame to help UF storm back to win the set and grab control of the match.

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